Game One Hundred Fifty-Three – Cubs 5, Cardinals 0
WP – Jake Arrieta (18-7) LP – Mike Leake (9-11) Save – None
It was vintage Jake Arrieta on Friday afternoon at Wrigley. Arrieta dominated the Cardinals for seven innings, allowing just five singles and a walk. The Cubs scored four runs in the first and gave Arrieta all the run support he would need. The Cubs played a complete game and shutout the Cardinals for their 98th win of the season.
Jake Arrieta was on top of his game for the first time in well over a month. Arrieta was very sharp throughout his seven innings of work. Arrieta struck out the side in order in the first inning. And it was apparent early on that he and Miguel Montero were on the same page. Arrieta had excellent command. Arrieta threw strikes to both sides of the plate. Arrieta had a lot of success with his changeup and mixed his pitches extremely well. Friday, by far, was the best Arrieta has looked since a start in early August in Oakland.
Jake Arrieta walked just one batter while striking out 10 on 99 pitches, 68 for strikes. Arrieta ran into a little trouble in the third inning with back-to-back singles. But his defense bailed him out with a 3-5-4 double play on a sac bunt attempt by Mike Leake. Arrieta looked comfortable throwing to Montero and confident with his excellent stuff.
Pedro Strop made his first appearance since Aug. 10 in the eighth inning. After issuing a four-pitch walk to Jhonny Peralta, the first man he faced, Strop struck out Kolten Wong swinging and the Cubs defense turned a 5-6-3 double play to end the eighth.
Travis Wood and Carl Edwards Jr. combined on a scoreless ninth to finish the game and complete the Cubs 15th shutout of the season.
The Cubs defense was spectacular once again Friday. The infield turned three double plays and Miguel Montero picked off Matt Adams from first base to end the fourth inning. The Cubs did not help the Cardinals while taking advantage of every miscue Matheny’s team made.
The Cubs jumped on Mike Leake in the first inning. The Cubs made Leake throw 31 pitches in the first. A leadoff walk and two wild pitches helped the Cubs put a four-spot on the board.
Dexter Fowler (0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) scored the first run after he walked and went to third on a single to left from Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored). Fowler’s baserunning led to the Cubs’ first run. Mike Leake uncorked a wild pitch on the first offering to Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5 with two doubles, a run scored and a RBI) that allowed Fowler to score.
Anthony Rizzo had three hits and his first of two doubles plated Bryant with the Cubs second run. Ben Zobrist (1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI) drove in Rizzo and Chris Coghlan (1-for-2 with a double, two walks and a RBI) delivered a two-out double that allowed Jason Heyward (0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) to score from first base.
The Cubs added a run in the fourth when Jake Arrieta (1-for-3 with a run scored) scored on a Ben Zobrist grounder to second base.
The Cubs scored five runs on nine hits with six walks and four strikeouts … and finished the game 3-for-10 with RISP while leaving 10 men on base.
After Jake Arrieta struck out the side in order on 11 pitches, nine for strikes, to start the game, the Cubs jumped on Mike Leake and put a four-spot on the board.
Dexter Fowler worked a walk and went to third on a single to left from Kris Bryant. The Cubs took full advantage of Kolten Wong playing left field. Fowler never hesitated and the Cubs had runners on the corners with no outs for Rizzo. And Fowler’s baserunning led to the Cubs’ first run.
Anthony Rizzo stepped in and Leake’s first pitch got away from Molina. Fowler scored from third, 1-0 Cubs. Bryant moved up to second. Rizzo doubled to left. Bryant scored easily when Wong slipped and planted his face into the outfield grass. Rizzo went to third when a 2-2 pitch to Zobrist got away from Molina. Leake’s second wild pitch of the inning put Rizzo on third with no outs. Matheny brought his infield in. Ben Zobrist pulled a 3-2 pitch to right past the drawn in Carpenter, Rizzo scored … 3-0 Cubs.
Russell hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice and Heyward grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice.
Chris Coghlan pulled a 1-0 pitch down the right field line. Heyward was at first and was off with the crack of the bat. Heyward was waived in and slid in headfirst with the Cubs’ fourth run. Coghlan went to third on the throw. Coghlan’s two-out double plated Heyward and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead. Montero hit a little blooper to short to end the inning. The Cubs made Mike Leake throw 31 pitches, 19 for strikes, in the first inning.
The Cubs had a 4-0 lead after one and the defense helped keep the Cardinals off the board in the top of the second.
Matt Adams led off the second with a single to center. Yadier Molina worked a 10-pitch at bat. Molina smoked a 3-2 pitch toward third. Bryant fielded it cleanly and started a 5-4-3 double play. Arrieta struck out Grichuk to end the inning.
The Cubs went down in order in the second. After two complete, it was 4-0 Cubs.
Jake Arrieta gave up back-to-back singles to Jhonny Peralta (bloop to left center) and Kolten Wong (center field) to start the third. Mike Leake stepped in and squared to bunt with runners on first and second with no outs. Leake squared to bunt and appeared to get hit in the hand. Homeplate umpire C.B. Bucknor said he offered at the pitch. Instead of the bases being loaded and no outs, Leake had a count of 0-1. Leake bunted a 0-2 pitch toward first. Rizzo charged, picked the ball and threw a strike to Bryant at third. Bryant made the throw across to Zobrist at first and the Cubs completed a 3-5-4 double play. With Wong at second, Arrieta struck out Carpenter to end the inning.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the third but were unable to add to the lead. Rizzo led off with a double to the right field corner. Zobrist flied out to right center. Rizzo tagged and went to third with one out. Russell fouled out to Carpenter down the right field line. Heyward and Coghlan worked back-to-back two-out walks and loaded the bases. Montero struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs had a 4-0 lead after three innings.
Jake Arrieta issued a two-out walk to Matt Adams in the fourth. But with his team down by four runs, he drifted too far off first base after Arrieta threw a second strike to Molina. Miguel Montero picked Adams off first base to end the inning.
The Cubs tacked on a run in the fourth.
Jake Arrieta started the fourth with a single to left. Fowler popped out to right. Bryant ripped a 2-1 pitch back up the middle and into center off a diving Matt Carpenter’s glove. And that was it for Mike Leake. Mike Matheny went to his bullpen for lefty Dean Kiekhefer. Rizzo singled to left center off the tip of Gyorko’s glove. And the Cubs had the bases loaded with one out.
Matheny went back to his pen for right-hander Miguel Socolovich. Zobrist put a 1-0 pitch into play. Zobrist hit a grounder toward second. Rizzo was forced at second but the ball was not hit hard enough to turn two, plus Gyorko could not get enough on the throw with Rizzo coming right at him. Zobrist beat the throw, Arrieta scored, 5-0 Cubs. Russell stepped in with runners on the corners and two outs. Zobrist took second on the first pitch. Russell grounded out to short on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
At the end of four, the Cubs had a 5-0 lead … and that would be the final score.
Jake Arrieta shut the Cardinals down. Arrieta allowed just two more hits and the bullpen did its job in the eighth and ninth innings to complete the shutout.
With Friday’s win, the Cubs improved to 98-55 … a season-high 43 games over .500.
Jason Hammel takes on rookie right-hander Alex Reyes on Saturday afternoon (12:05pm CDT) in the middle game of the series with the Cardinals.